Stay at School to Find Way Out of Adversity
May 19, 2012 | Medical Daily | Link to article
The best bet for a young person to get out of poverty would be to get educated says a study published in the journal of Youth and Adolescence.
The study also says that belonging to African American or Mexican American ethnicities or being a female is disadvantageous in developing financial assets while being Asian or Cuban or belonging to a high income family can be beneficial.
The study sample consisted of 12,000 adolescents. It found that people belonging to African American and Mexican- American ethnicity earned significantly less than their Caucasian counterparts.
But getting higher degree will not wipe out all the influence of early life adversity say the researchers.
"Education doesn't erase the influence of early community adversity. It can buffer it substantially if educational attainment is high enough, but it doesn't erase it," said Kandauda Wickrama, professor of human development and life science in the UGA College of Family and Consumer Sciences and lead author of the study.
While being a certain minority might help as the study found that minorities like Asian and Cuban have higher incomes than Caucasians regardless of their community characteristics.
Experts say that graduation and subsequent employment rates in young people belonging to poor families' minority or otherwise goes unrecorded as these people fall between the cracks in the system.
"This situation goes largely unattended because minority youth is an invisible constituency. When young people dropout, or disconnect, or stop looking for work, they are no longer counted in any system or any statistic unless they find their way to the public welfare system or the criminal justice system as many of them do. No public institution or system is called upon to account for the preparation and transition of youth to the labor market," wrote Linda Harris from Center for Law and Social Policy.
A related study done on the education level of teens in U.S says that, "students from historically disadvantaged minority groups (American Indian, Hispanic, Black) have little more than a fifty-fifty chance of finishing high school with a diploma while graduation rates for Whites and Asians are 75 and 77 percent nationally."
"Early adverse life experiences, such as community or family poverty, have a detrimental effect on young adults' social economy attainment-income, assets and job quality. Living in an adverse environment during childhood has a persistent, long-term affect on young adults. Although you can change the place where you live, clearly early adverse experiences are under your skin," said Wickrama.
"In general, early community poverty has a negative influence on young adults' assets, income and job quality, however, this negative influence is not significant for highly educated young adults," said Wickrama.